Experts on Plant-Made Pharmaceuticals Available to Media

On July 17 - 18, 2002, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology is hosting the conference "Pharming the Field: A Look at the Benefits and Risks of Bioengineering Plants to Produce Pharmaceuticals."

Representatives of companies involved in producing plant-made pharmaceuticals and other experts will participate in the conference and will be available on July 17 and 18 to talk with the media about plant-made pharmaceuticals.

Plant-made pharmaceuticals are the result of an innovative application of biotechnology, whereby plants are genetically enhanced to produce pharmaceutical proteins that serve as essential building blocks for drugs that may treat and cure cancer, heart disease, HIV, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other debilitating diseases.

  • Francois Arcand, General Manager, Medicago, Inc.
    Medicago uses proprietary technologies to transform alfalfa plants into efficient and affordable production systems for complex, life-saving biologic drugs (human hemoglobin and monoclonal antibodies) and molecules (animal health compounds and industrial enzymes).
  • Andrew Baum, President & CEO, SemBioSys Genetics Inc.
    SemBioSys Genetics Inc. uses plants to develop value-added protein and oil body based products utilizing its proprietary oil body technology. Oil body technology is highly versatile and can be applied to low cost production of protein therapeutics, oil bodies as topical and nutritional ingredients, and oil bodies as a potential delivery system for topical and oral active ingredients (i.e. cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals).
  • Molly N. Cline, Director of Government & Industry Relations for Animal Agriculture & Integrated Protein Technology, Monsanto Company
    Monsanto Protein Technologies, a unit of Monsanto, is focused on contract manufacturing at very large scale of therapeutic proteins derived from plant biotechnology. Monsanto is recognized as the leader in plant biotechnology and recombinant protein technology. By leveraging this breadth of experiences ranging from genomic and seed breeding, to large scale sterile protein manufacturing, Monsanto will deliver a cost effective process for producing therapeutic proteins at very large scale.
  • Scott Deeter, CEO, Ventria Bioscience
  • Tod Stoltz, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Ventria Bioscience
    Ventria has created a technology for producing therapeutic proteins that capitalizes on the safety and efficiency of grain production through the efforts of its internal R&D team, and collaborations with world-renowned biotechnology and industry leaders. This proprietary technology platform, with proven, scalable, commercial capacity, has made it possible to produce and deliver novel products in the health and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Lisa Dry, Director of Communications, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
    BIO member companies are developing Plant-Made Pharmaceuticals (PMPs). This is a category of therapeutic agents (pharmaceutical proteins) produced in live plants. For 15 months, BIO member companies have worked to identify the benefits of plant made pharmaceuticals as well as develop a unified industry position on good manufacturing practices, which address regulatory and environmental issues such as confinement and standard operating practices. BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
  • Anthony G. Laos, CEO & President, ProdiGene
    ProdiGene is using recombinant protein from plants, instead of animals, for the production of human vaccines and pharmaceuticals. One of ProdiGene's processes uses maize (corn) to produce an enzyme called Trypsin, which is used in the production of insulin, digestive aids and tissue culture. Commercial scale-up of TrypZean, ProdiGene's recombinant form of Trypsin, was began in early 2002. ProdiGene has a pipeline of proteins, usually harvested from animals that are being developed using their transgenic plant system. In addition to non-animal sourced proteins they are also developing vaccines for LtB (Travelers Disease), Hepatitis B and AIDS.
  • Brad A. Shurdut, Global Leader, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Biotechnology, for Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company
    Dow is a leading science and technology company that provides innovative chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services to many essential consumer markets. Committed to the principles of sustainable development, Dow and its approximately 50,000 employees seek to balance economic, environmental and social responsibilities.
  • Mich Hein, Founder and President, Epicyte Pharmaceutical, Inc.
    Epicyte Pharmaceutical, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of therapeutics to treat inflammatory and infectious diseases. The company's proprietary technology for producing antibodies in plants allows Epicyte to address an unmet need - making antibody treatments for common infectious diseases in large enough quantities for widespread use. High production costs associated with traditional methods for producing antibodies have limited their use as a disease treatment. Epicyte's technology for growing antibodies in plants is scalable and cost effective.

To arrange an interview with any of the above, please contact:

Mihaela Grad
Tel: 416-645-3667

Lisa Dry
Cell: 202-345-3673